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Sporting KC v LA Galaxy: Preview, Predictions, Starting XI, Stats, Injuries

It’s not mathematically over just yet...

MLS: LA Galaxy at Sporting Kansas City Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC @ LA Galaxy (#LAvSKC)

When: Sunday, September 15th, 2019 at 9:00 PM CT

Where: Dignity Health Sports Park

How to Watch/Stream: FS1 | ESPN+ (not domestically)
How to Listen: Sports Radio 810 WHB | ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM

Sporting Kansas City find themselves in a weird place coming into Sunday’s road match in Carson, California. They are well below the red line and looking way up at the final playoff spot. While they are still mathematically alive, they are almost certainly not making the playoffs. That’s a tough spill to swallow, but all hope isn’t lost.

I suspect Peter Vermes and company will push hard to try to pull off the upset and sneak into the playoffs and it starts with a win on the road. This game is about more than the playoffs. It’s about revenge. The Galaxy trotted into Children’s Mercy Park earlier this year and put a firm beat down on a struggling KC team. Going to LA and getting redemption for that 2-0 defeat would be big.

The Galaxy will come into the game needing a result after falling 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday. They find themselves also below the playoff line after a series of bad results.

Carson Los Angeles are in 8th place with 42 points and a single point out of the playoffs. SKC find themselves in 9th place on 37 points and six points out of the playoffs. As Mike Kuhn detailed earlier, Sporting don’t just need to make up points but they also need to overcome several tiebreakers. That will be tough to do with only a possible 15 points left to be earned. Needless to say, Sporting need them all.

Interesting Stats

  • Sporting KC are 4-1-4 in their last nine meetings with the Galaxy with the lone loss coming this season.
  • That was also the first time Tim Melia has ever lost to the Galaxy. Additionally, he has posted two shut outs against LAG.
  • The Galaxy are ice cold having gone 1-5-2 in their last eight games. Sporting are 4-4-0 over that same stretch.

What’s changed for the Galaxy since these clubs met last?

The Galaxy have just one addition and one subtraction since the first meeting in 2019. Out is wide midfielder Emmanuel Boateng who was traded to D.C. United. And in is a much better player in attacker Cristian Pavon on loan from Boca Juniors. Pavon has looked pretty dang good and he’s a player capable of creating for others, specifically for Zlatan.

For their other roster moves, check out our first preview of 2019.

Injuries

Sporting KC

OUT - Rodney Wallace (hip injury), Benny Feilhaber (unknown)

QUESTIONABLE - Andreu Fontas (unknown)

*This story will be updated Sunday when the official injury report comes out. It was already updated Saturday with Thad's injury news.

Galaxy

OUT - Romain Alessandrini (knee surgery)

QUESTIONABLE - Perry Kitchen (groin injury), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Achilles inflammation)

Suspensions

Sporting KC - None (Roger Espinoza suspended next yellow card)

Galaxy - None (Rolf Feltscher, Favio Alvarez and Giancarlo Gonzalez suspended next yellow card)

Stats

Sporting KC

GOALS - Felipe Gutierrez (10), Johnny Russell (9), Krisztian Nemeth (7), Gianluca Busio, Yohan Croizet (3), Erik Hurtado, Ilie Sanchez, Benny Feilhaber (2), Gerso, Graham Smith (1)

ASSISTS - Johnny Russell (7), Gerso Fernandes, Ilie Sanchez (5), Felipe Gutierrez (3), Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi, Yohan Croizet, Kelyn Rowe, Krisztian Nemeth, Benny Feilhaber (2), Nicolas Hasler, Seth Sinovic, Graham Smith, Jimmy Medranda, Daniel Salloi (1)

*Not only had Salloi not scored all season, but he only got his first assist last week against the Portland Timbers.

Galaxy

GOALS - Zlatan Ibrahimovic (23), Favio Alvarez, Uriel Antuna, Daniel Steres (3), Jonathan dos Santos (2), seven with one

ASSISTS - Diego Polenta (5), Alvarez, Sebastian Lletget, Zlatan (4), Pavon, Chris Pontius (3), seven with two, four with one

Starting XI Predictions

Until it’s over, I suspect Peter Vermes will keep playing the starters. I’m not sure that’s the right answer, but I understand it. If Sporting lose this game though, it’s time to give some minutes to the kids (honestly, it’s probably already time, but I’m clinging to hope too even if it sounds otherwise).

Sporting KC get their compliment of internationals back (Russell, Nemeth, Barath, Hasler and Busio) as well as Gutierrez from suspension. I imagine Vermes will go back to a version of the lineup that was working before the late Portland loss.

The only positions in question are will Ilie start and will Salloi start?

Personally, even though it worked, I’d not start Gutierrez at defensive mid as the team is much better when he’s further up the field. Let Ilie resume his defensive midfielder role and have Gutierrez start up in the attack next to Espinoza. Then players like Busio and Feilhaber will be available to inject fresh legs as needed.

There is a real case to start Salloi over Gerso. That sounds weird but Gerso didn’t look very good against Portland. Salloi has been improving, but he just keeps missing golden opportunities. Whoever starts, the other is likely to play.

Rest of the 18: Zendejas, Barath, Medranda, Feilhaber, Nemeth, Salloi, Busio

It’s possible someone like Busio isn’t even in the 18 to make way for Sinovic. However, I’d be fine with Medranda as the emergency fullback. When this team is healthy, there are lots of good options on the bench.

Fan Starting XI

The fan vote was identical to mine, but some votes started to creep in for some kids. Here are the top voted players who aren’t starters: Lindsey (36.8%), Feilhaber (27.9%), Barath (19.1%), Salloi (17.6%) and Busio (16.2%).

Prediction

Sporting KC are really catching the Galaxy at the right time. They played midweek against the Rapids and will be on short rest. In addition, they are just in really poor form. It feels like the kind of game SKC can go into Cali and steal. Just enough to keep hope alive.

That said, this game is probably doomed. I’ll be heading to LA to watch the game with the #Roaddron and I’m 0-2-0 this year (LAFC and San Jose). Sorry in advance if my curse continues.

2-1 Sporting KC Win

What do you think? Predictions in the comments for both lineups and results are welcome. We can’t quite tell who you voted for in our other poll, so let us know why we are wrong (or right).

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